YORK City have not enjoyed an ideal run of circumstances so far this season - but manager Steve Watson is not too down-in-the-mouth ahead of Saturday's visit of Chester.

After last season came to an early halt because of the novel coronavirus, the Minstermen set about rebuilding their squad, with 16 players having left the club over the summer.

The 15 new recruits - all brought in between August 7 and September 21 - had a condensed pre-season campaign to get back up to fitness and familiarise themselves with their new team-mates.

Three games in the National League North this season yielded five points, including an excellent season-opening win over Chorley, before City were halted by a player’s positive Covid-19 test, which forced players and staff into isolation for 10 days.

Watson has warned that finding the best permutation for the side may not happen immediately, but the boss is sure there is more to come from the side.

“We haven’t had a bad start,” he said. “We put in a very good performance against Chorley and we let the game slip against Farsley.

“It was a tough draw against a very good side in Brackley.

“We’re not in our stride yet and we certainly haven’t seen the best of the group yet.

“It might be a bit of a slow-burner because we might need two or three games to know what our best system and group of players is.

“As long as we’re still picking up points and hopefully winning games in that spell, I’m really confident moving forward.”

And despite the frustration of the isolation break, it has provide extra recovery time, with players who would have been doubts last week in with a shout this week.

Jack Redshaw, Matty Brown and Akil Wright have all been back in training this week, as have Robbie Tinkler and Owen Gamble, who picked up niggles before what would have been the Hereford game.

However, Michael Duckworth's hamstring injury is worse than first hoped and Josh King picked up a knee injury against Brackley.

Watson added: “It was totally unplanned and not ideal but if we’re trying to take positives from it, it did give the injury list a chance to improve. We’ve got two or three players back training who wouldn’t have been for Hereford. Every cloud, I suppose.

“As far as I know, nobody’s left the house in isolation. They have had a programme to do a certain amount - some flexibility stuff, but there isn’t much more they can do.

“Now that we’re back in training, it’s about finding a happy medium between catching up on fitness and not bursting out of the blocks too quickly and risking more injuries.”

There will be eight new names in the starting 11 from that which started York’s 4-2 win over Chester last season.

By contrast, Chester have remained relatively stable, bringing in just six players ahead of the 2020/21 season.

Possibly the biggest change at the Deva Stadium will be the departure of the side’s top scorer last season Akwasi Asante to Gloucester City.

Watson commented: “When you bring a completely new set of players together - and 15 new faces is a lot - we’re always looking at what we consider to be the best (system).

“We had a shortened pre-season and we rushed through a month.

“The players coming in had different fitness levels. People like Matty Brown, Kieran Kennedy, Robbie Tinkler, Scott Barrow, Jake Cassidy, Michael Woods, Olly Dyson hadn’t kicked a ball since March.

“Others like Newts, Paddy and Pete Jameson went through the play-offs and are up-to-speed.

“It’s been a process which hasn’t been helped by an enforced 10-day break but we are where we are.

“We’re still looking at what works best for the group.

“I like Chester,” he continued. “They try to play a certain way. They’re a good footballing side. I like the two guys in charge, they’ve got a lot of experience and a good record.

“They lost Akwasi Asante but have kept a good squad together, which obviously means they know each other’s games better than our guys do.

“We know it’s going to be a really tough game.

“Every game we play against Chester is tough.

“We had a very difficult game down there last season which we nicked. We performed very well at our place.

“We’re coming from completely different preparations.

“We’re looking at getting the season bouncing again, hopefully.”